02 March 2010

The Surveillance State in Scotland?

There's an interesting piece up over at Reason.com about the growing use of classical music as a form of "social control" in the UK. In recent years, the UK has been making a name for itself as a wacky surveillance state: CCTV on every corner, broad-brush campaigns against young people in public spaces, heavy-handed policing of photographers, etc.

However, from what I've read, and what I've seen, it seems like the heaviest surveillance is reserved for south of the border. Sure, we have the occasional CCTV camera here in Edinburgh, but the police are anything but omnipresent, and despite my incessant shutter-bugging, I've never been stopped by police, and I've never heard of anyone else here being stopped, either.

I wonder why this is. It's possible that, because Nana and I both live and work in one of the nicer parts of town, we just don't spend a lot of time in the areas at which surveillance measures are usually targeted. And Edinburgh as a whole is pretty tame: Glasgow is really the only Scottish city with a population--and a crime rate--similar to the big cities in England where most of these surveillance stories originate. We haven't been to Glasgow yet, so I don't know what it's like there.

Then again, I haven't been to London in years, so I can't vouch for Big Brother's influence there, either. It's possible the surveillance stories are overblown, just as its possible that our little slice of the UK just happens to be one of the least-surveilled.

1 comment:

  1. Sir,

    Please remove this piece, as it is in violation of several national security acts.

    Also, you're wearing the same shirt you wore yesterday.


    The government